TAMPA BAY-- Nikita Kucherov scored two goals & assisted on linemate Steven Stamkos' goal as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 on Tuesday night. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 33 saves, while Edmonton center Connor McDavid was unable to crack the scoring sheet for just the second time this season.
Tampa Bay entered the game having won their last two games, but not scoring first in any of their last five games. While Edmonton was playing the second game of a back-to-back after losing in Washington on Monday night. But the second game in two nights didn't keep the Oilers from getting good scoring opportunities in the first 20 minutes. But Vasilevskiy made 11 saves in the first period. And while their goaltender didn't allow a puck past him, the Lightning got the puck past Oilers back-up goalie Mikko Koskinen, first when Stamkos took a past from Kucherov & scored his fifth goal of the year for the 1-0 lead. Then before the first 20 minutes was up, center Brayden Point scored his team-leading 9th goal of the year, making it 2-0 Tampa Bay.
The Lightning outshot the Oliers in the first period 15-11 but with the teams skating four on four, the Oilers cut the lead to one when center Ryan Strome got his first goal & first point of the season, beating Vasilevskiy with a low shot to his stick side. But less than 60 seconds later, the Lightning made it a two goal lead again when a shot from the point by defenseman Ryan McDonagh was redirected in front by forward Yanni Gourde for his seventh of the season.
Leading 3-1 & with the teams skating four on four again, Tampa Bay's top line took advantage of the open ice. Stamkos & Kucherov played a weave game with the Lightning captain skating with the puck inside the Oilers zone until he was able to find his linemate, who then snapped a shot high over Koskinen inside the cross-bar for his 6th goal of the year.
Trailing 4-1 Edmonton started the final period on the power play after a slashing penalty on defenseman Anton Stralman in the final minute of the second period. And the visitors made good on the man advantage when after a feed inside the Lightning zone from forward Ty Rattie, center Leon Draisaitl buried a shot past Vasilevskiy, making the game a two goal game again. But the theme of the game seemed to be each time Edmonton cut into the lead, Tampa Bay pushed the lead back up & this time they got some help from the Oilers. With Oilers defenseman Matt Benning in the box for slashing, the Lightning scored their first power play goal of the game when Kucherov skated out of the corner, moved in front of the net & shot a puck on goal that Koskinen allowed to squeeze under his arm & trickle past the goal line. The goal was Kucherov's second of the game & his seventh of the season.
The final 10 minutes of the game was marred by an incident involving Lightning forward Matheiu Joseph & Oilers forward Milan Lucic after Lucic was hit with several penalties including a game misconduct for taking Joseph down & punching him while the Lightning forward was covered up on the ice.
Tampa Bay plays their second game of their three game homestand when they host the Islanders on Thursday night. Pregame starts on 970 WFLA at 6:30pm with puck drop at 7:30pm.
1. TBL- Stamkos 5th goal (Kucherov)- 4:40
2. TBL- Point 9th goal (Gourde, Johnson)- 19:34
1. EDM- Strome 1st goal (Klefborn)- 12:32
2. TBL- Gourde 7th goal (McDonagh, Point)- 13:19
3. TBL- Kucherov 6th goal (Stamkos, Coburn)- 18:59
3RD PERIOD :
1. EDM- PPG- Draisaitl 9th goal (Rattie, Nugent-Hopkins)- 0:40
2. TBL- PPG- Kucherov 7th goal (Miller, Stamkos)- 8:23
1. EDM- Rattie (Slashing 2 min)- 6:37
1. TBL- Miller (Interference 2 min)- 4:48
2. TBL- Point (Tripping 2 min)- 10:37
3. EDM- McDavid (Holding 2 min)- 11:04
4. EDM- Strome (Slashing 2 min)- 17:43
5. TBL- Paquette (Slashing 2 min)- 17:43
6. TBL- Stralman (Slashing 2 min)- 19:41
1. EDM- Larsson (Hooking 2 min)- 5:49
2. EDM- Benning (Slashing 2 min)- 12:34
3. EDM- Lucic (Interference 2 min)- 9:31
4. EDM- Lucic (Roughing 2 min)- 9:31
5. EDM- Lucic (Misconduct 10 min)- 9:31
6. TBL- Kucherov (Hooking 2 min)- 13:39